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Best Restaurants in San Francisco

It turns out that every traveler has the same question during travel, “Can you recommend a restaurant?” It’s normal because there are so many restaurants in town. Among them, finding the best restaurants in San Francisco is tough.

San Francisco is a frantic, sprawling city. Is there anything about San Francisco that will capture your heart and have you returning repeatedly? Oh yes, that’s the food.

Whether you’re in the mood for a 16-course meal at a supper club, simple street-style tacos, or the best vegetarian dining in America, you’ll find it at the best restaurants in San Francisco. 

Luckily, Continue Today has covered you with the best restaurants in San Francisco. Here is a list of the top restaurants in San Francisco:

1. Abacá

2. Lucca Delicatessen

3. Sotto Mare

4. Nisei

5. China Live

6. Hog Island Oyster Co.

7. House of Prime Rib

8. Osito

9. Sula

10. Empress by Boon

11. Tenderheart

12. Nari

1. Abacá

Abacá Restaurant

2700 Jones St, San Francisco, CA 94133

(415) 486-0788

Website

Chef Francis Ang and his wife, Dian Ang, work at ABAC, a restaurant combining Filipino and Californian flavors. They aim to highlight the richness and liveliness of Filipino culture and cuisine. ABACÁ honors old family recipes and flavors while using seasonal ingredients.

The cocktail program features various drinks, from classics to imaginative Filipino-inspired libations. The restaurant offers three menus: dinner, breakfast, and brunch. They also have freshly baked pastries, ensaymada, and espresso drinks at the Panaderia Abacá counter located in the restaurant.

Abacá is a place to celebrate life and others. Here, the focus is on contemporary Filipino Californian fare, like pork skewers with banana BBQ sauce, salmon kinilaw, and chorizo-stuffed squid. So, you can say that, it is the best restaurants in San Francisco.

2. Lucca Delicatessen

Lucca Delicatessen Restaurants

2120 Chestnut St, San Francisco, CA 94123

(415) 921-7873

Website

San Francisco loves sandwiches, and this old-school Italian-American deli has been stacking them by the slice since 1929. Salami hangs from the ceiling, cheese wheels weigh down the shelves and everyone has their favorite specialty. 

You can find a variety of delicious sandwiches at this place, like the Italian Combo with salami, ham, mortadella, and provolone, and also Pat Burrell roast beef with pepper jack with peppers. A great idea is to get a sandwich for lunch and also grab a box of ravioli to take home for dinner.

They have an absolutely ELITE sandwich. Layers of meat, cheese, pickles, and pickle spread. A coma on a baguette, in the most delicious way possible. Besides sandwiches and meat and cheese, you can also get salads, pasta, roasted chicken, giant cookies, and more.

Lucca has been run by three generations of Bosco’s, open since 1929. A gentleman in front of me in the lane told me he’s been coming to the shop for 15 years. He also said he was planning to come here every week for another 15 years at least. That is what this deli means for local people.

3. Sotto Mare

Sotto Mare Restaurants

552 Green St, San Francisco, CA 94133

(415) 398-3181

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Sotto Mare serves old-school Italian seafood in an old-school Italian neighborhood. There is only one seafood option on the menu, so if you are traveling with someone who does not eat seafood, don’t expect them to order anything else.

The restaurant is famous for its cioppino, a huge steaming bowl of crab, shrimp, calamari, clams, and mussels in a red broth (with minimal noodles) that’s enough for two (at least). It’s my favorite in the city.

The menu isn’t innovative or inspiring-but it is comforting and satisfying. At $41 for two, the cioppino is a San Francisco deal. You can skip the bread basket with that red broth and order the salads only if you’re into the Louie dressing vibe. If you want coffee and dessert, you can head to nearby cafes—Sotto Mare doesn’t offer them.

Sotto Mare is an ideal place to meet family or old friends over fresh seafood. It’s warm and friendly, comfortable and casual. 

4. Nisei

Nisei Restaurant

2316 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109

(415) 827-6898

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Nisei offers a contemporary take on Japanese cuisine, blending traditional flavors with Californian produce. The menu offers a multicourse tasting experience, is carefully curated, and features a variety of dishes that showcase Chef David Yoshimura‘s culinary artistry.

This cuisine is based on synthesizing the Japanese heritage of Chef David Yoshimura, an American-born Japanese. Here dinner is an elegant affair, but there’s no risk of stuffiness. The service team is personable, and an ‘80s power ballad playlist indicates that no one takes things too seriously.

In the kitchen, Chef Yoshimura and his team create delicious dishes. They also wrap sweet Brentwood corn, fermented blueberries, and buttery uni in shiny nori. As part of the tasting menu, you might enjoy an assortment of pickled vegetables called tsukemono, served with small cup of miso soup made with bone broth and duck fat rice. 

5. China Live

China Live Restaurant

644 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94133

(415) 788-8188

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George Chen‘s massive Chinese food emporium is one of the best ways to experience San Francisco’s Chinatown. The best choice is probably this one-stop shop for fried scallion pancakes, soup dumplings, Peking duck, and charred Chinese broccoli if you are craving variety.

China Live is not just a restaurant – it’s a captivating destination for gourmet enthusiasts, trendsetters, and world travelers that explore by the palate.

Experience Chinese cuisine like never before as you indulge in Chef Chen’s culinary creations. Explore exquisite offerings prepared in our dedicated, open kitchens that reflect China’s rich culinary tradition.

Also, the open kitchen means you can watch the culinary team wrap dumplings and wok-fry rice. On your way out, don’t forget to stop at the market to stock up on house-made condiments. If you want to extend the night, try Cold Drinks Bar upstairs, where the menu centers around smokey Scotch-based cocktails

6. Hog Island Oyster

Hog Island Oyster Restaurant

Ferry Building, #11, San Francisco, CA 94111

(415) 391-7117

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Hog Island Oyster Company is a popular place in San Francisco where you can enjoy fresh oysters and beautiful water views. It’s located at the north end of the Ferry Building Marketplace.

Their menu includes raw oysters on the half-shell, steamed clams, traditional oyster stew, and clam chowder. They also serve beer, wine, and cocktails. 

The place can get crowded, so it’s a good idea to plan ahead and expect a line, especially during busy times. But if you arrive early, you can enjoy platters of fresh oysters served on ice. These oysters come from different areas along the West Coast.

You can also try other dishes like fried local anchovies, elegant crudo, or a delicious grilled cheese sandwich with three types of melted cheese. Pairs your meal with a glass of sparkling wine and enjoy the view of the bridge outside. It’s a memorable dining experience.

7. House of Prime Rib

House of Prime Rib Restaurant

1906 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA 94109

(415) 885-4605

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The House of Prime Rib in is a highly popular and successful restaurant. As the name suggests, they specialize in serving prime rib, and they do it exceptionally well. The menu is simple, offering choices for the meat’s temperature, thickness of the cut, type of potatoes (mashed or loaded baked), and a choice between a martini or Manhattan cocktail.

Every plate includes a salad that is prepared right at your table, along with sides of creamed spinach, Yorkshire pudding, and potatoes. The highlight of the meal is a generous portion of prime rib that is carved from large meat carts brought to your table.

The prime rib is cut to the diner’s specifications, served alongside mashed potatoes and creamed spinach, the pinnacle of a classic American meal. And despite serving an average of 600 diners on a weekday, “attention to detail and flavor, is not sacrificed,” Arrington says. “Everything is still done with integrity and value for the guests.”

8. Osito

Osito Restaurant

2875 18TH STREET SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94110

(415) 817-1585

Website

Chef Seth Stowaway pours his passion and personal touch into this cozy lodge-like restaurant called Osito. The heart of the place is the central fireplace, which creates a warm and inviting atmosphere. The staff is incredibly friendly and welcoming.

At Osito, you can enjoy a multicourse tasting menu served at a large communal table. The menu changes with the seasons and each version focuses on a different theme. In the past, they’ve explored themes like Chef Seth‘s life story in “Growing Up” or paid homage to traditional cooking techniques.

The food at Osito is both simple and refined, with a touch of smoky flavor running through the various dishes. For example, you might find king salmon cooked gently with fennel and porcini mushrooms, or slow-cooked brisket served with a delicious mussel BBQ sauce that is brushed onto the meat right at your table.

9. Sula

Sula Restaurant

602 Murray Circle Sausalito, CA 94965

(415) 339-4751

Website

The Sula restaurant combines Cavallo Point’s heritage with an inspired, modern feel for exquisite dining in a beautiful setting. Executive Chef Michael Garcia presents an ingredient-driven menu with Mediterranean cooking influences alongside the property’s homegrown flair.

It replaces the hotel’s longstanding signature restaurant, Murray Circle, tucked away within Cavallo Point Lodge. The updated version does not disappoint, offering a sophisticated New American menu in a gorgeous space that blends the property’s military heritage with modern times.

The menu is crafted by Executive Chef Michael Garcia who originally hails from the Bay Area and has cooked at institutions throughout town. Dishes pulled from Meritorian cooking and Marin fresh ingredients. Don’t miss the Fort Bragg petrale sole, the wagyu filet, and the charred octopus.

10. Empress by Boon

Empress by Boon Restaurant

838 Grant Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94108

+1 415-757-0728

Website

Empress by Boon is San Francisco’s newest, must-visit epicurean destination, offering a seasonal menu in modern Cantonese gastronomy. Michelin-starred Chef Ho Chee Boon applies traditional techniques to fresh, local ingredients to produce distinctive contemporary dishes infused with Cantonese flavors.

Chef Ho offers a prix fixe menu at a starting price of $98. They also have a separate menu with small bites available in a trendy bar area. The focus of the menu is to provide a modern twist to traditional Cantonese dishes using locally sourced ingredients. 

Many of these ingredients come directly from the restaurant’s organic farm in Gilroy, California.

11. Tenderheart

Tenderheart Restaurant

33 Turk Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
415 475 0000

Website

At Tenderheart, a restaurant located on busy Market Street, traditional Asian flavors blend with New American cuisine. Executive Chef Joe Hou, who was raised in a Chinese-American household, draws inspiration from the Bay Area‘s culinary heritage and commitment to using local ingredients based on the seasons.

Tenderheart serves as a casual and welcoming hub for both locals and visitors. It occupies a space that balances the energetic atmosphere of the city with the authentic charm of historic downtown San Francisco.

The menu is enhanced with playful cocktails crafted by San Francisco bar veteran Danny Louie, and an all-natural/biodynamic wine list by Master Sommelier, Morgan Harris. If there’s one dish you can’t miss, it’s the burrata. It is paired with pickled Romani peppers, salsa macha, and crispy wontons.

12. Nari

Nari Restaurant

1625 Post Street, San Francisco, CA 94115

415.868.6274

Website

Nari, a contemporary Thai restaurant, infuses heritage recipes with modern Californian sensibility. With Nari, Pim Techamuanvivit has created one of the country’s most exciting restaurants, a women-led operation that expertly (and deliciously) blends Thai traditions, California ingredients, and best-in-class hospitality.

This restaurant is another fantastic creation by Chef Pim Techamuanvivit. It has a slightly more upscale atmosphere and cuisine compared to her previous restaurant, Kin Khao. The restaurant is primarily run by women, with Chef Meghan Clark as the chef de cuisine.

In a contemporary Thai restaurant, chefs swap out traditional Thai ingredients for locally grown seasonal ones while preserving classic flavor profiles. The menu features large format dishes appropriate for sharing, including rich curries with lamb, eggplant, pork belly, and Cornish game hen.

Conclusion

In conclusion, San Francisco is a culinary paradise, offering an exceptional array of dining establishments showcasing the city’s diverse and vibrant food scene. From world-renowned Michelin-starred restaurants to hidden neighborhood gems, the best restaurants in San Francisco leave a lasting impression on locals and visitors alike.

The best restaurants in San Francisco testify to culinary excellence. They showcase a melting pot of flavors, innovative cuisine approaches, and sustainable practices. With its culinary diversity, commitment to quality ingredients, and breathtaking settings, San Francisco is a top destination for food enthusiasts worldwide.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. This guide to the best restaurants in San Francisco is a foodie’s paradise. It’s an expertly curated collection, offering diverse options that cater to every palate and occasion.

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